You can spend an entire day at Kelley Park. With 156 acres of stuff to do, you can enjoy gardens, the park’s trails, the zoo, and museums. Kelley Park is the home of the Happy Hollow Park and Zoo, Japanese Friendship Garden, San Jose History Park, Viet Museum, and Portuguese Historical Museum among other historical societies. Kelley Park is bounded by Story Road (on the northwest), Senter Road (on the southwest), Roberts Street (on the northeast), and Yerba Buena High School and Phelan Avenue (on the southeast) in East San Jose. Coyote Creek winds through much of the park, which is part of the larger Coyote Creek Park Chain in San Jose. The land was once a farm owned by Mrs. Louise Kelley who inherited the land from her father Judge Lawrence Archer, a local pioneer and former mayor of San Jose. Kelley called the land “AR-KEL Villa” in honor of her father (ARcher) and her husband (Frank KELley). Pillars marked “AR-KEL” can still be seen on the pepper-tree drive off Senter.
Judge Archer was born in Anderson County, South Carolina in 1820 and attended the University of Virginia and studied law under Armisted Burt in Abbeville, South Carolina before he moved to Yazoo County, Mississippi in 1841, where he was admitted to the bar. In Yazoo County, Archer contracted malaria and moved to St. Joseph, Missouri in 1843 for his health. He was elected district attorney in 1848 and married the former Louise Martin that same year, but resigned in 1851 and they moved to California to improve his health. In California, the Archers first settled in Sacramento, then briefly in San Francisco before arriving at San Jose in January 1853. Archer was elected mayor of San Jose in 1857, then to the California State Legislature in 1866. After one term, he was elected county judge in 1867, from which he resigned in 1871. He was elected mayor again in 1877. With his first wife, he had a daughter (also named Louise, born c.1863) before his wife Louise died in 1869. He remarried in 1870, to the former Alice B. Bethell, and they had two more children together: Lawrence (b.1871) and Leo (b.1874).
Japanese Friendship Garden at Kelley Park. The land that would become Kelley Park was purchased by Archer in 1861, and he planted 30 acres (12 ha) with cherry, apricot, and prune trees. He is credited with being the first farmer in Santa Clara County to use women and children to pick fruit. The 4 acres (1.6 ha) planted with cherry trees yielded an average annual income of US$3,000 (equivalent to $90,000 in 2021). Archer named his estate Lone Oak. The estate house he constructed was destroyed in a fire in May 1909, and a new estate house was completed on February 16, 1910, the day before Archer died. Louise Archer married Martin J. Flavin (1849–1893) at Lone Oak in 1883; after Flavin’s death, she married Frank Kelley (1858–1924), owner of the Star-Peerless Wallpaper Mills, in Chicago, where they lived with her four sons (Martin Flavin, 1883–1967; Frank Kelley Jr., 1894–1965; Kenneth Kelley; and Lawrence A. Kelley, 1897–1955). The Kelley family moved back to California around 1910, as Louise inherited Lone Oak after the death of Judge Archer. Louise retained Charles Sumner Greene to design a conservatory, tile fountain, and servants’ quarters for AR-KEL Villa, which were completed by the end of 1930.